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Abstract

Leucogranites are a characteristic feature of collisional orogens. Their generation is intimately related to crustal thickening and the active deformation and metamorphism of metapelites. Data from Proterozoic to present day orogenic belts show that collisional leucogranites (CLGs) are peraluminous, with muscovite, biotite and tourmaline as characteristic minerals. Isotopic ratios uniquely identify the metapelitic sequences in which CLGs occur as sources. Organic material in pelitic sources results in fO2 in CLGs that is usually below the fayalite–magnetite–quartz buffer. Most CLGs form under vapour-poor conditions with melting involving a peritectic breakdown of muscovite. The low concentrations of Mg, Fe and Ti that characterize CLGs are largely related to biotite–melt equilibria in the source rocks. Concentrations of Zr, Th and rare earth elements are lower than expected from zircon and monazite saturation models because these minerals often remain enclosed in residual biotite during melting. Melting involving muscovite may limit the temperatures achieved in the source regions. A lack of nearby mantle heat sources in thick collisional orogens has led to thermal models for the generation of CLGs that involve flux melting, or large amounts of radiogenic heat generation, or decompression melting or shear heating, the last one emphasizing the link of leucogranites and their sources to crustal-scale shear zone systems.

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